One day when Louis was 3 years old and was playing in his father's workshop, he picked up a sharp awl and tried to make a hole in a piece of leather as he had seen his father do many times. The young child lost control of the tool and stabbed himself in his right eye, crying out in pain. When his parents reached him, his eye was streaming blood. A local remedy of lily water was applied to the injury, probably aggravating the already badly inflamed eye. The infection spread quickly to Louis' left eye. Both eyes continued to deteriorate and by the time Louis was 5 years old he was completely blind.